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Penguins fire head coach Mike Johnston, name Mike Sullivan as replacement

The Pittsburgh Penguins have fired head coach Mike Johnston and have named Mike Sullivan as his replacement, the team announced in a release Saturday morning. Assistant coach Gary Agnew was also relieved of his duties.

The Penguins are 15-10-3 through 28 games this season and currently sit fifth in the Metropolitan Division. They’re 4-3-3 over their past 10 games.

Johnston was hired as Penguins head coach on June 25, 2014. In his 110 regular season games behind the Pittsburgh bench, the club had a record of 58-37-15.

“I felt it was time for a coaching change because our team has underachieved,” Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said in the release. “Our expectations are much higher with this group of players.

“Mike Sullivan has been a head coach and an assistant coach in the NHL and we’ve been very fortunate to have him with our AHL club this season. He’s done an outstanding job in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and he’s ready to step in.”

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Sullivan previously served as an NHL head coach with the Boston Bruins from 2003-06. In his two seasons with Boston, the club compiled a regular season record of 70 wins, 56 losses, 15 ties and 23 overtime/shootout losses. He has also served as an NHL assistant coach with the Bruins (2002-03), Tampa Bay Lightning (2007-08), New York Rangers (2009-13) and Vancouver Canucks (2013-14).

In 23 games this season as head coach of the Penguins’ AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Sullivan guided the club to an 18-5-0-0 record, good for first place in the AHL’s Atlantic Division.